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Fabricio Werdum ‘wanted to leave the UFC,’ feels like ‘ambassador’ for PFL

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Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum explains his UFC leave and signing with PFL.

MMA: UFC Fight Night-Sydney-Werdum vs Tybura
Fabricio Werdum is set to have his PFL debut on May 6.
Christopher Hyde-USA TODAY Sports

Former UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum is not sad at all about his Octagon departure. After dedicating the last eight years of his career to the biggest promotion in the world, the Brazilian was happy to leave on his own terms with a win over Alexander Gustafsson in July 2020 and signing with the Professional Fighters League shortly afterwards.

In an interview with Super Lutas, Werdum explained how he negotiated his UFC release and what led him to sign with PFL. Now just hours away from making his debut at PFL 3, the Brazilian expressed nothing but satisfaction after closing an important chapter of his MMA career.

“The decision (to leave the UFC) was 100% mine. I wanted to leave the UFC. I decided to do it. I thought that those years I spent in the UFC were enough. It was good to make that decison because of everything that happened to me. Good things and bad things. My last fight had to be the way it was. A good win, so I could negotiate with the PFL better.”

“Just to be clear, it was my decision.” Werdum continued. “It wasn’t for lack of negotiation. They had the contract in their hands. I told them: ‘No, thanks. It’s all good. I appreciate it a lot, but now I want to go my own way.”

Now a member of the PFL’s roster, considers himself an ambassador for the company, meaning that he negotiated quite a satisfactory deal for himself upon signing the contract. Now paired up against Renan Ferreira for his debut in a quarter-final for the heavyweight GP, ‘Vai Cavalo’ expects to win in the first round.

“In Brazil, we have both quality and quantity. Look at how many athletes we have who don’t have the opportunity to fight in major promotions like the PFL, UFC or Bellator. I’m already considered an ambassador. Those guys treated me so well that they put me as an ambassador, paying me a salary to show off (the promotion).”

“Talking about Renan, I didn’t know him that well.” Fabricio said. “I didn’t pay attention to him before, because we weren’t in the same company. Now that we’re in the same league, I’ve watched some of his fights. I know he has good reach, he punches well. I have a good strategy to win in the first round. If you don’t know, the PFL has a point system. If you win in the first round, that’s six points. In the second, five. In the third, four. if you win by decision, that’s three. It all adds up so you can advance to the next phase. I don’t think I’ll have any problems with Renan.”

In his last outing, Werdum tapped out Gustafsson with an armbar, back in July 2020. Before that, the 43-year-old had dropped a split decision to Alexey Oleynik in January of the same year. Overall, the Brazilian left the UFC with a 10-4 record in this second stint.

Now, Werdum is expected to take on Renan Ferreira at PFL 3’s main event, in a quarter-final bout for the heavyweight tournament. The card is scheduled to take place on May 6, in Atlantic City, New Jersey.